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Is New Zealand About to Get Screwed on TPPA and Medicines?

3 September 2013

Is New Zealand About to Get Screwed on TPPA and Medicines?

‘The art form of saying nothing was to the fore again in the official statement from chief negotiators at the end of the latest - and supposedly last - round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement talks in Brunei’, said Professor Jane Kelsey, who was in Brunei as a ‘registered stakeholder’.

‘The deadline of the October APEC meeting has given way to a new target of the end of 2013. Whether or not that is achievable depends on what deals are done over the remaining roadblocks, one of which is medicines.'

‘There are serious rumours that the US is about to embark on a divide and rule strategy to split the opposition to its position on intellectual property and medicines’, according to Professor Kelsey.

It has been publicly reported that the US Trade Representative will table a new deal on patents before the TPPA Trade Ministers meet on the margins of APEC in Bali in early October. That deal is expected to offer solace to some countries – but not to New Zealand.

‘The deal would still be bad for those countries, but not as terrible as the US’s original proposal. We would still get the terrible deal’.

Professor Kelsey speculated that ‘isolating New Zealand on the medicines issue might be a strategy to pressure Trade Minister Groser to back off demands for dairy access if it wants the same deal on medicines. Or it might simply plan to screw us on both issues’.

The Trade Ministers meeting will be followed by a meeting of leaders around 7 October – with Obama in the chair and our deal-making Prime Minister among the other eleven political leaders.

'Even if New Zealand was offered the less-worse option, it would mean that the new Patent Act passed just last week would have to be amended in the interests of Big Phrma. Not a good look in an election year, when they are trying to sell a TPPA as a big win for New Zealand,' Professor Kelsey observed.


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